The Supreme Court on Thursday said that India cannot have two separate legal systems, one for the rich and another for those without the resources to get justice, Bar and Bench reported. It added that the existence of a dual legal system will “chip away the legitimacy of the law”.
The court said this while setting aside an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which had refused to revoke the bail of Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Rambai Singh’s husband Govind Singh in a murder case. Singh is accused of killing Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia.
Devendra Chaurasia’s son Somesh Chaurasia had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s order.
“India cannot have two parallel legal systems, one for the rich and the resourceful and those who wield political power and influence and the other for the small men without resources and capabilities to obtain justice or fight injustice,” a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy said on Thursday.
The court also took note of the allegations of political pressure made by a trial judge in the case.
“Independence of the judiciary implies independence of each and every judge from political pressures and other external influence and control, as also the independence from their superiors in the judiciary itself in that there may be no interference in their decisions,” the bench said, according to Live Law.
The Supreme Court said that district judges worked in very difficult conditions and stressed on the need to protect them. It added that district courts were fundamental to the administration of justice and the colonial mindset towards them had to change, according to Live Law.
Chandrachud and Roy directed the Madhya Pradesh High Court to investigate the trial judge’s accusations and take necessary action.
“We take serious note of the manner in which the additional sessions judge, Hata who is in charge of the criminal case has been harassed by the law enforcement machinery in Damoh,” the judges said. “We have no reason to disbelieve a judicial officer who has made an impassioned plea that he was being pressurised. If you cannot make the arrest, admit that you have failed to conduct the administration as per the Constitution. This is jungle-raj [lawlessness]!”